The stars last night were so clear. Autumn is here – Orion sinking in the west, and later, Scorpio rising in the east.
The team has finally gotten into their routine in the evenings – Preven rounds up all batteries and recharges them – cameras, dictaphone, gps, laptops, 2 way radios – so much electronic equipment – it’s ridiculous. Pens drew up a shower roster so there is no scramble for the showers, and Mike is in charge of identifying trees and scats and other miscellaneous veld objects gathered in his sample bottles. Pandora & Penny download photos and then whilst Pandora matches the photos to the blog entry, I download all the Dictaphone entries and sit with Penelope and transcribe her notes. And all the while Wendy and John are cooking up a storm in the kitchen – well, heating up a storm – thanks to all the wonderful cooks out there who have donated wonderful meals to keep us on the go.
This morning we hit the Highway from Hell at 07h30. A landowner has been playing around on a caterpillar bulldozer, and with no regard to anything has bulldozed a road (or maybe opened up a new one). The alien wattles alongside have been bulldozed and stumped, it looks like Armageddon – nothing remains alongside the road, bare earth, loose earth, even the steep bank of the river. One rainfall and all this soil will wash into the clear clean river!
After the Highway from Hell, we meandered down the river which twists and turns in a series of u bends, but always flowing in a west east direction.
Much of the day was spent finding a route through patches of bramble, and negotiating thickets of wattle trees along the river.
After our sobering stretch yesterday at least conditions improved and we were able to enjoy ourselves again.
All day, Nhlosane Mountain stayed in our view, and although probably 80% of the river banks were lined with wattle trees, we passed through some beautiful grasslands, the slopes dotted with dolerite boulders, stunted protea bushes and vibrant red everlasting flowers.
Lunch was alongside the river with beautiful rapids and a swim revived us all.
Eventually, after 15 kilometers, we were collected by John in the bread wagon, and arrived at the most beautiful, tranquil thatched cottage at Beverly Country Cottages. I am sitting on the verandah, the moon shining above, spotted Eagle Owl calling. After a delicious dinner, it is hard to keep working – but nearly done for the day.
The whole team wishes to thank Kate at Beverley Country Cottages for the wonderful accommodation and meal which we really appreciated.
Posted by: Penny Rees